GUEST BLOG: Property expert Luke Philpott on how to design the perfect office

According to The Work Foundation, 73% of employees are not satisfied with the work environment at their current jobs. Furthermore, 51% of employees would then go on to leave their jobs because they are dissatisfied with their work environment. This is hugely revealing. This is not a work performance issue yet can impact on it greatly.

The statistics become even more interesting. 85% of UK office staff say that their working environment inhibits their creativity. A further 25% of employees "have serious complaints" about various office environment factors. These figures clearly demonstrate that office space not only affects productivity, but dictates it.

While not all companies can offer lunch rooms or outside gardens, the office design plays a key role in attracting the right people to an organisation. 41% of employees and job-seekers say the office environment played a significant role in their decision to accept a position.

Architects and designers today are developing new models of working space which aim to "empower workers" by creating interaction and cross- fertilisation of ideas. The thinking behind this is to create traditional communities, social connections and professional interaction. This also means the death of the cellular office as we know it.

Workspaces producing optimum results are those which allow the office to be more of a club where people are made to interact. The Japanese concept of open plan offices, stemming back to the 1970s, is very much the successful formula of the future.

'Magnet facilities' - areas which will draw together all staff at some point, such tea and coffee areas and photocopiers should be set up in public areas to stimulate interaction. At the same time as investing in well-designed common areas intended for social interaction, employees most value their own defined personal workspace, ie, their own desk with reasonable storage facilities and a comfortable chair.

If you want to ensure that your staff are happy and productive, it's worth establishing these 'magnet facilities' from the outset, or risk losing your people simpy through poor office design.

Luke Philpott has prepared a comprehensive Smarta guide to sourcing new office space, moving, and negotiating the best terms. Check it out here.

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